Cape Town - Police Minister Bheki Cele’s office has confirmed he will investigate the City’s Safety and Security Investigations Unit’s (SSIU’s) operations.
Cele’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said on Wednesday that a decision had been taken to look into the matters raised by GOOD Party secretary-general Brett Herron who had written to Cele asking him to investigate the legality of the SSIU (Minister Bheki Cele asked to probe the City of Cape Town’s 'rogue and dangerous' SSIU).
On Wednesday Herron said although he had not been alerted directly to the fact that the minister intended to investigate, he welcomed the news.
“Crime prevention cannot be achieved through unlawful means,” he said.
Herron had said in his letter to Cele that the SSIU was a policing/intelligence structure that operated outside the parameters of the Police Act and, unlike the Municipal Police Service, was not subject to provincial oversight.
The City meanwhile said the legal status of the SSIU had been confirmed by a legal opinion and its functions were well within the law.
Last week Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis accused Herron of undermining crime fighting with his letter to Minister Cele.
Calling Herron’s letter an effort to weaken local policing powers endangers the lives of Capetonians, Hill-Lewis said: “We know, as does any resident who lives daily in fear of crime, that residents trust and rely on Cape Town’s policing abilities far more than they rely on any other sphere of government.”
He said the City would not yield policing and enforcement powers to the national minister, and that instead his administration was working hard to devolve far more of those powers to Cape Town,
“We understand we cannot hope to deliver a city of dignity, safety and shared prosperity so long as people suffer the oppression of violent crime and the constant anxiety that comes with feeling unsafe.”